I started trying to trap these last year. Farmers catch a heap of them around where I live. I bought some turtle nets that are 30 inch, nets, 4 foot long with 3 rings. Like hoop nets kinda.
Haven't had a tremendous amount of success as I'm still learning but did catch a few. I'd posted how to clean one on another forum a while back and thought I'd share for the hell of it in case anyone was interested.
Would love to hear any tips for catching them if anyone has ever done so.
First thing I do is get some water heating up. As soon as I start the water to heat I shoot the turtle in the head. I try to place the shot towards the outer half to break the jaws for obvious reasons. Sons a betches are capable of “biting” for quite a while after. I guess it’s involuntary muscle movement but who cares- they can still clamp down.I tie the turtle up by the tail and bleed it out as much as possible.
This is home boy hanging.
(Refer to 2nd picture for next two paragraphs) After water starts to roll I dunk it in the water for about 5 seconds then I test it. If you can peel off that outer layer it’s good. I did a spot so you could see the difference. It’s similar to scolding a catfish but much easier. You can peel it off like sun burned skin.
Then I run my knife around the shell everywhere there is skin attached. From there I skin it out as much as I can while it’s still attached. It’s easier that way. My dad had me to hold the meat while he skinned it but I don’ t have any boys. (Later you’ll see I actually left this one in tact so you could better understand what is done).
(3rd picture below)After that I use a hacksaw and cut the small part of the shell that attaches the bottom to the top. Then I run a sharp knife along the inside of the bottom shell to separate it. I lay the bottom part next to it so you could see.
Then I separate the legs from the shell and cut it up in the joints. Easy to figure cause there are ball & socket joints. I will post a pic, later, of what you're left with after pulling the meat out of the shell.
The neck is a white meat. I just cut it up. After all that I take some cutter pliers and cut each lil section on the underneath of the shell. tirk amazes me, he mentioned this meat being money and it is. Most people don’t fool with it but It’s the tenderloin- aka- backstrap. After cutting the sections, which are like cartilage and not hard to cut, I run a knife along the shell and roll out what I can with the tenderloin.
Here is a picture of a shell before I cut it out and another one that it’s been cut out of earlier.
Here's what you end up with out of the shell:
Make sure you cut out the rectal plumbing
(Upper left) Whole front leg. (Upper right) front leg cut up (Bottom middle) Neck. You can see the white meat on the neck.